Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Luther Carlyle, Jr., to Walt Whitman, [3 November 1890]

Date: [November 3, 1890]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01212

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: The annotation, "see notes July 2 1891," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Ian Faith, Breanna Himschoot, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock

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Walt Whitman,2

Be thou accursed,—who, calling thyself a poet, in the extremist tone of Vanity!—fail to recognize a poet—a bard, far greater than thou!!

Yea! Be thou, doubly accursed!!—for thy ignominious and dastardly attitude toward this loyal bard! So far above thee in Love Greatness that, thou it seemeth must needs in gross pusillanimity assume to be totally oblivious of his Existence!!!

Yea!! Be thou trebly accursed!!!

Luther Carlyle Jr.

Since there is no record of a "Luther Carlyle Jr." in New York in 1890, it is possible that the writer used a pseudonym, and the identity of this correspondent remains unknown. In Horace Traubel's entry in With Walt Whitman in Camden for July 2, 1891, Whitman refers to this correspondent and those of "the same tenor" as "howlers." In his calendar of letters included in Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, (New York: New York University Press, 1969), Edwin Haviland Miller refers to the writer as a "crank" (5:337).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | The Poet ([2 u?]) | Camden, N—J. It is postmarked: NEW YORK | NOV 3 | 730 PM | 90; 16; CAMDEN, N.[J.] | NOV | 4 | 6 A[M] | REC'D. [back]

2. At the top of this letter, there is a drawing of Calvary (Golgotha), where Jesus was crucified, with three crosses on the landscape. [back]


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